After gaining relative consciousness this morning, I started hunting around for something interesting in my mind -- some spark that did not rely so much on past sparks but was freshly minted and bright. Before starting this entry, I searched the internet in vain for a story I heard on NPR radio some years ago about a couple who farmed pigs in (I think) Louisiana or Alabama. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard, combining without ever mentioning them, an honest "Buddhism" and an honest "love." But that was in the past, even if I couldn't find it.
So I skimmed down the news, wondering vaguely how long anyone might give a damn about homosexuality in the military; wondering vaguely how long China, with its interest in an improving economy, could hold out against the 'dissidents' who were part and parcel of an internet that provided the information necessary to a swelling economy; wondering vaguely if the passage of a tax package that provides more money for the extremely wealthy and unemployment benefits for the extremely-stressed were ever really in doubt ... wondering vaguely, but not really finding the kind of bright spark that makes you smile with outrage or delight.
As close as I came was the Pole Dancing Championships in Tokyo -- something I had never heard of and, more interestingly, something that challenged my easy-peasy assumption that pole dancing was a slithering, raunchy turn-on for happily-plastered guys with and without tattoos ... not to mention a good way to pay college tuition.
I like it when my biases are reshaped -- forced to get wider; forced to be rethought; forced to admit their narrow contentments; forced to ... be bright and new and more interesting than the edges I had put on them.
Of course there's nothing wrong with being horny (where would any of us be without that?) or conceding we have some pretty interesting fantasies or getting drunk and then paying the price exacted by the Hangover God ... but the story offered a small reminder -- this was also about human beings who were exercising. Pole dancing certainly would spice up the Olympics if it ever gets that far.
And, as usual (yawn!), it made me think of spiritual life -- its easy pole-dancing assumptions, its visceral longings, its bright-light virtues, its rich fantasies, its delicious and serious arousals, its ornate venues and rituals that beckon and beckon from some well-lighted stage, its unrequited longings and finally, its ability to inspire something assured and bright ... enlightenment, love, peace, heaven ... or getting laid.
Start anywhere and don't stop -- that seems to be the best advisory life has to offer. But of course we do stop, we do snuggle down in our biases and faiths, we do figure we have a good bead on things ... and in all that self-defining effort, we still wonder why the brightness we yearn for seems to be just out of reach.
Stop anywhere and don't stop ... it sounds pretty bright to me.